Here’s hoping her fighting is done

Having worked with the Patients’ Association on various client projects in the past few years it was clear to see the influence that Claire Rayner had on politicians, medical professionals and healthcare leaders. To many she was the agony aunt who could dish out some sound advice should your girlfriend, boyfriend, boss or brother be giving you some jip and her courageous campaigning that ranged from contraception to electoral reform would cut through the thickest of opponent’s skin.

But gripped by illness she left both us and her legacy to fight on and should Mr Cameron foul up her beloved NHS she will be back to help us.

As she lay on her deathbed she is said to have muttered: “Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I’ll come back and bloody haunt him.”

Many may ask as to her authority to comment on such a subject. But prior to becoming the nation’s favourite life and love fixer she practised as both a nurse then a midwife and, of course, in later years her campaigning for patient rights and involvement with more than 50 charities qualifies her most admirably.

She had to fight her own personal battles also. As a child she would take a beating from her mother and in later life had to take a beating from breast cancer – she came through both.

She had a right to call it her NHS. Not just because she advised health regulatory boards and was once a member of the Prime Minister's Commission on Nursing in the 90s, but because it was hers, as it is ours, as it has been everyone’s since Nye Bevan made it so more than 60 years ago.

I don’t care too much for ghosts, not that I have ever encountered one, but should I see the ghost of Claire Rayner sometime in the future it will be with a heavy heart that she has come back to win one last fight.

Dean Enon